Weight loss, maintenance and gain is controlled and regulated by the amount of energy we consume (food & beverages), and exp...Weight loss, maintenance and gain is controlled and regulated by the amount of energy we consume (food & beverages), and expend (digesting food, normal physiological function, spontaneous movement & structured exercise) over weeks and months.
Weight loss, maintenance and gain is controlled and regulated by the amount of energy we consume (food & beverages), and expend (digesting food, normal physiological function, spontaneous movement & structured exercise) over weeks and months. In theory, this is simple. However, in practice, it is far from easy, due to automation (less movement) and the obesogenic environment (energy-dense foods highly accessible & available) we find in the modern world.
Interestingly, losing weight itself appears to be a successful endeavour for most. The problem arises with weight loss maintenance, we see approx 80-90% of people relapse, in one year nearly 80% relapse to pre-diet weight (Source: NCBI). In two years that number is 85% and in three years it increases to 95% (Source: NCBI, NCBI). In summary, most diets are absolute failures. To understand this phenomenon we need to walk through energy balance.
Note: when we alter one side of the equation it affects the other. For example, if we decrease our calorie intake, we will spontaneously move less and therefore decrease the energy expenditure. Meaning, we will be closer to energy balance than energy deficit and there will be less fat loss.
It is close to impossible to out-exercise a poor diet. Rather we should focus on consuming adequate energy with a slight energy/calorie deficit. A practical way to implement this is to reduce portion sizes at lunch and dinner. In addition, prioritise protein, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and foods that are filling. This will help you reach your goal in a sustainable and healthful manner.
Is needed as raw material to create enzymes, immune cells, connective tissue, muscle proteins, support structures for bones and teeth. Protein is probably the most important macronutrient for weight loss. In terms of maintaining muscle mass, protecting bone health and also appetite regulation. Current advice is to consume 1.6-2.2g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (Source: NCBI, NCBI). Experiment with your intake and see where you feel best. But, prioritise protein and you will reap the benefits.
Should be no less than 20% of your total calorie intake. This means if you consume 2000kcal, 20% is 200kcal, fat has 9kcal per gram, so 200/9 =22g of fat. Obviously, more than this can be consumed if preferred. However, fat is the most energy-dense nutrient, from a calorie: volume perspective, fat will provide the least amount of food. An important consideration for appetite regulation.
Are the main and preferred energy source for our bodies. Focus on fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and oats as your main carbohydrate sources. This will provide micronutrients, fibre, plant-based protein and complex carbohydrate. These carbohydrates can help you with appetite and also provide essential nutrients.
Calories/energy are needed for the majority of processes in the body. For example, digestion, breathing, heart beating and more. Additionally, active individuals expend energy through exercise energy expenditure. The four components of energy expenditure are explained below.
No.1 is the energy expended from basic process needed to sustain life. This portion of energy expenditure accounts for about 60-75% of your total daily energy expenditure. Put simply, this is the amount of calories/energy you burn if you lay in bed all day doing nothing. It includes, but is not limited to the following processes: breathing, heart beating, digestion, excretion, thinking and the turnover of bodily tissues such as muscle.
No.2 is the energy expended from converting food into energy or storing the excess. This portion of energy expenditure accounts for about 8-15% of your total daily energy expenditure (Source: NCBI). Put simply, this is the energy cost of digestion, absorption, transport and storage of nutrients. You will notice this is the smallest range (8-15%) out of the four components, we do not have much control here. Meaning to increase or decrease our energy expenditure we should focus our efforts on the physical activity components, as they provide the greatest return on investment of effort and time.
No.3 is the energy expended from exercising. This portion of energy expenditure varies tremendously depending on one's physical activity level, around 15-30% (Source: NCBI). For example, an athlete will have a very high expenditure, whereas a sedentary person will have a lot lower. It can vary from 30-80% of total energy expenditure depending on the individual. An elite endurance athlete is pushing the upper end of this due to training load and intensity. Exercise is extremely important for controlling energy balance. It is the most variable component of 24-hour energy expenditure, but also the part that can be controlled voluntarily.
No.4 is the energy expended from unconscious or unstructured physical activity. This portion of energy expenditure can also vary tremendously, about 15-50% (Source: NCBI). Put simply, this component relates to all activity that is not structured/planned exercise. For example, walking, gardening, stairs, cleaning, postural control, fidgeting and anything of this nature. Sometimes this is explained as involuntary/unconscious component of total daily energy expenditure.
Diets set-up with fat loss as the priority should implement the slow and steady principle. Importantly, the calorie deficit can be imposed daily or for example 5/7 days. Allowing the weekend to enjoy more food while still decreasing fat mass.
The reason "slow and steady" is recommended is due to research showing greater retention of lean body mass with a more gradual approach (Source: NCBI, NCBI).
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